Employee speaks out against town deputy commissioner hiring for unfair practices

Employee speaks out against town deputy commissioner hiring for unfair practices
North Hempstead Town Hall in Manhasset. (Photo by Karina Kovac)

An employee spoke out Tuesday against the Town of North Hempstead’s hiring of a deputy commissioner for the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications, saying it was done through unfair hiring practices.

Ryan Smith was hired as the department’s deputy commissioner with a starting annual salary of $78,000. His start date for the position is April 27.

Anthony Cimorelli, a systems engineer in the town’s Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications, objected to the hiring of the department’s deputy commissioner at a town board meeting Tuesday.

He called the hiring unfair and an example of nepotism, alleging the position had not been posted and Smith was hired based on favoritism by the department’s commissioner.

The department has employees who have been working there for decades, Cimorelli said, and the hiring of Smith disregards their potential to fulfill the position, or at the very least nixes their opportunity to apply for it.

According to a Sept. 1, 2022 town board agenda, Smith was appointed to the position of clerk II for the department starting on Sept. 3, 2022.

“It’s bewildering why someone with such limited tenure and expertise would be favored over our seasoned veterans,” Cimorelli said. “…This decision is not only undermining the principles and fairness of meritocracy but also demoralizes the hardworking individuals who form the backbone of our department.”

Town Councilmember Robert Troiano questioned why the job position was not publicly posted, to which Supervisor Jennifer DeSena said it was not a requirement for this position.

Finance & Human Resources Commissioner Robert Weitzner affirmed DeSena’s response, adding that postings are not typically made for job openings that can be filled internally. He said these decisions are typically made after consulting the department head.

All personnel hiring, appointments, terminations, resignations and salary changes, including the hiring of Smith as the Department of Information Technology Telecommunication’s deputy commissioner, were approved.

While the hiring was approved, Town Councilmember Mariann Dalimonte told Cimorelli that she would have liked to speak with him before the meeting so that she could have investigated the issue further before having to vote on the matter. She voted to approve the hiring.

The board also appointed Deputy Supervisor Joseph Scalero as the town’s voting member for the Roslyn Fire Department. This was an emergency item added to the agenda.

Dalimonte questioned why Town Councilmember Ed Scott, who represents the largest portion of Roslyn, was not chosen to fill the position. She said councilmembers have historically served in such roles.

DeSena said she chose someone from her office as it is common for staff to fill positions, such as the Port Washington Fire Department where Dalimonte appointed a staff member to serve in her place to avoid conflicts of interest. A supervisor staff member previously was the Roslyn Fire voting member.

In other news, a slew of other resolutions were passed by the board including a T-Mobile contract for lower-cost phone services and to approve a bid for improvements to the HVAC system at the town animal shelter.

Multiple residents spoke critically of the improvements to the animal shelter, which would cost about $1 million, arguing that funds should also go towards a new cat shelter. The town’s animal shelter only houses dogs.

“Why can’t you find one penny to renovate the existing shelter to accept cats,” resident Nina Gordon said.

Gordon also expressed opposition to County Executive Blakeman seeking armed property and business owners to be deployed as special deputy sheriffs office during emergencies.

“I don’t want any licensed firearm owner deputized,” Gordon said. “I think this is a dangerous thing. I think this puts communities of color and minority groups at risk.”

While DeSena said the issue does not concern the town, Gordon said the town supervisor’s close relationship with Blakeman offered her an opportunity to address the issue with him.

Gordon and Councilmember Dennis Walsh then began to argue with raised voices which escalated after the councilman told Gordon “Nobody wants to hear from you.”

Sabine Margolis piggybacked off Gordon’s concerns, saying her German citizenry taught her to be aware of the onset of fascism. She said these emergency special deputy sheriffs are examples of the beginnings of fascism.

“We need to not have a militia in our county, and I ask you all to take action,” Margolis said.

While the town approved multiple resolutions, the board opted to continue its resolution without a future date to designate parking spaces in Port Washington for electric vehicle charging stations.

DeSena offered the resolutions to be pushed forward to conduct further research on setting fees for the charging stations.

The parking spots in Port Washington are the first charging stations to be implemented before more are implemented throughout the town in the future.

The supervisor said this resolution would set the fee schedule for future electric vehicle charging stations.

An RFP from the company Blink was already accepted by the town to implement the charging stations. The board talked about considering a new RFP or picking a different vendor for the project as well.

Troiano argued against continuing the resolution without a date so the matter does not get neglected.

Troiano voted against the motion and Liu abstained from voting, saying she did not know the background of the project due to her newness to the board.

The Town of North Hempstead will convene again on Tuesday morning to hold its upcoming public hearings.

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  1. Editor:

    It seems clear that Autocracy has taken hold at Town and County levels. We are entering
    a “Law of Rule” phase characterized by the lowest form in politics.
    Ruling parties decide what, when, who and how much. Minority representatives and the public are witnessing Corruption; the worst form of governance.


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